Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers Colin McRae and Armin Schwarz ended the opening leg of Rally GB in 13th and 21st places respectively. The return of Colin to the WRC with Skoda Motorsport has generated a massive amount of interest...
Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team drivers Colin McRae and Armin Schwarz ended the opening leg of Rally GB in 13th and 21st places respectively.
The return of Colin to the WRC with Skoda Motorsport has generated a massive amount of interest among the media and the rally fans, thousands of whom turned out to cheer the Scot and his Welsh co-driver Nicky Grist over the start ramp at Cardiffs Millennium Stadium last night.
Following yesterdays rainstorms the opening two stages were treacherously slippery and Colin adopted a cautious approach. The third was closer to the road conditions he had seen during last weeks tests and he was rewarded with sixth fastest time, moving him immediately to ninth overall. The afternoons stages were a repeat of those in the morning but they were now in significantly worse condition and the handling of the Fabia WRC 05 suffered as a result. McRae again opted for a sensible approach to end his first day of WRC competition for 18 months nicely placed for tomorrow.
Tomorrows leg features six stages to the north of Swansea before the crews head for Cardiff and a unique indoor superspecial at the Millennium Stadium. The days stage distance totals 103.86kms.
Colin McRae: The first two stages were so slippery that to push hard would have been stupid because we had no experience of these conditions as the test was dry. These are the most demanding stages of the rally and its very easy to make a mistake. I went for it on the dry third stage and got sixth place so if it stays like that for the rest of the rally then we can build on it. This afternoon the car was bouncing about in the ruts so we will change the set up for tomorrow and Im confident we can improve our position as everything is very close. The atmosphere at last nights start was fantastic and there are thousands of fans in the forests cheering us on. Its good to be back!
Armin Schwarz: I spun on the first corner of the first stage and stalled the engine. It took a long time to restart and then after that I had an intercom problem for two more stages. Klaus did a great job guiding me with hand signals but I think that, in terms of results, my rally was over before it really began.
Martin Muehlmeier (Head of Skoda Motorsport): It was quite a difficult day for Colin but he drove sensibly in the bad conditions and pushed when he could. He has a good start position tomorrow and should be able to show the kind of speed we saw in last weeks testing.